The importance of mulching for an ever-fertile land, When we think about growing plants, we imagine that just water and fertilize and everything will work out. This rule seems to be enough, however, between the soil and the plants, an important item needs to be placed so that most cultivars can thrive – the mulching. And you must be wondering what this guy is. mulching. Calm down and I’ll explain: this word comes from English and means to cover the soil with protective straws, composed of dry organic matter of plant origin. Soil cover brings so many benefits to plants that it is surprising how many people are unaware of its use.
Mulching is a technique widely used in Permaculture, Agroforestry and Agroecology in soil management of large properties. This technique can and should be used in smaller spaces; backyards, orchards, vegetable gardens and vases in general. There are some species that do not appreciate this coverage: orchids and succulents, for example.
Think about what a forest floor looks like. There, there is no one there to water, fertilize, turn the soil…everything is in balance, in perfect harmony. The ecosystem itself manages to create the perfect conditions for the plants that inhabit it. And thanks to the vegetation cover, the forest floor is soft, drained, rich in micro life. Now, I make a counterpoint here: the soil of the sertão. In the sertao, the land is dry, scorched, lifeless, without organic matter; is an impoverished soil, without the mulching.
The importance of mulching for an ever-fertile land
Find out more about the benefits of this ecological technique
- Prevents excessive loss of water in the soil;
- Reduces the impact of rains;
- Regulates the ambient temperature of the soil;
- It enriches the soil as it decomposes (compost);
- Improves the performance of crops, whether food or ornamental;
- It’s zero cost;
- Gives a rustic and natural finish to the garden.
What can be used as mulching?
To protect the soil, the rule should be: use dry material, of plant origin, in small pieces and that is available in abundance near your house.
- pine bark;
- wood chips;
- sawdust or shavings (without chemical treatment);
- dehydrated moss;
- coconut fiber (shredded or crushed);
- rice straw (natural or carbonized);
- sugarcane bagasse;
- grass clippings;
- dried leaves crushed or broken into small pieces;
- sticks and pieces of logs (crushed);
- dried berries from seeds;
- peanut, chestnut or crushed walnut shells.
- in the absence of natural materials, you can still use paper or cardboard, or even old natural fabrics, as long as they are not dyed with paints or other substances toxic to the soil and plants.
How and how much to cover the soil?
The soil must be completely covered with straw, either in beds or in pots – with a layer that can vary between 2 to 5 cm in height, this will depend on the condition of the soil and the season of the year. In summer, the layer of mulching it should be thicker, as it will help the plants not to dry out quickly, the soil will retain more moisture, that is, less watering. The cover will also help to control leaf-cutting ants (they love rotten and uncovered soil), and will also protect the garden from torrential rains.
In the coldest seasons of the year, you can reduce the thickness in beds and pots, especially in the wetter regions where the garden is already more prone to fungi, so that your garden does not run the risk of becoming a home for slugs and snails.
The mulching used correctly and combined with organic fertilization is capable of making a revolution in the garden! It is a guarantee of healthier and happier plants. And speaking of soil nutrition, Raquel Patro and I produced a very complete Organic Fertilization e-book! A free material filled with wonderful teachings to help you in the natural management of your garden. Ah… did you know that a well-nourished garden with protected soil is essential to avoid pest attacks and plant diseases? But I will talk about this in a future article. But tell me. Is your garden more like forest or backcountry soil?
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